A Knit Anorak in Two Hours or Less

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It’s June, and I would love to say that this make is out of season, but it’s still layering weather here in the Pacific Northwest. When summer does arrive, it usually lands pretty hard though, so I’ll be breaking into my stash of linen this month! But for now, I’m craving soft warm cozy layers for afternoon errands and evening walks.

I titled this post – – in two hours or less because that’s an accurate reflection of how long it took to make this fast and easy jacket from Butterick.IMG_2639 2

This project was easy in part because I used double faced knit (Mill End Store).  LOVE IT!! The contrast hood and cuffs were created by the lovely lining on this knit.

They aren’t kidding when they say that Butterick 6394 is Fast and Easy! This pattern is simple and well-designed pattern; a good base for creativity and embellishment.

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I really wanted my knit jacket to feel more like a anorak than a ordinary sweatshirt so I modified as follows:

  • I added deep four inch cuffs to the long sleeves so that they could be folded back.
  • I added four buttons to the front closure. It’s meant to just meet at the front, but, because this is a very loose fitting jacket, it was easy to overlap the front to make it a button up jacket.
  • I added a drawstring waist, using seam binding on the inside and black cording.
  • I added deep pockets to the side seam.

Even with those modifications, this was a quick sew, made possible in part by the fact that the drop shoulders and the easy collar-less hood.

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I can guarantee, this jacket will be in heavy rotation during June, and again in the fall. This double faced knit is so great to sew and wear, I’ll always be on the lookout for more. Does anyone know a great source of lovely fabric like this?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

An Anthro Lace Dress Knock-Off

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Which one is from Anthropologie? Ha, just kidding. As you all know, I have a thing for lace and when I saw the above dress from Anthropologie, I wanted it in the worst way. The lace is gorgeous, but the style is a bit edgy, a must have if you ask me! But the price tag stopped me in my tracks. $728.00. Okay, it might be worth it with all of those gorgeous layers of lace, carefully sewn in place. But, hey, we can do that; am I right? Enter the Pattern Review Bargainista contest, just the motivation I needed to get it done! IMG_8867

I used Simplicity 1699 as my basic template for this dress.

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It’s a simple design, a peplum top or dress with raglan sleeves and a simple rounded neck line. Since, I’d made it before I knew it would fit me, freeing me to focus on the design elements I wanted instead.

First, even though the Anthropologie dress is one piece I saw it more as a skirt and top. So I split the dress at the bodice and added a waistband to make it a skirt.

Then, I started in on the bodice/top. I cut the lining pattern pieces first then cut corresponding pieces from the lace (contrasting pieces of white lace, purchased at Joanns.) and sewed them together. I wanted a v-neck, so I cut that too.

IMG_7326 Once I had the basic bodice constructed, I took little bits of lace and layered them over the first layers of lace, focussing on placing eye popping elements on the princess seams and neckline. Then, I finished the seams, added a zipper and hemmed the bodice so that it would be a top that could be tucked in or worn out.

IMG_1973By the time all that detail work was completed, I was ready for simple tasks. I was glad the process for the skirt was much easier. I just cut it from the lace, added a waistband, and lined it – phew!

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The process of layering the lace on the bodice/top took some time, but it was so satisfying. Deciding where the bits of lace should go was fun, and hand stitching them into place was a calming process. I often forget just how therapeutic hand stitching is!

The good news? My new dress/ensemble is close enough to the original that my credit card is no longer in danger of being used.

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  • Here’s how the costs broke down using the Pattern Review contest formula – – Column dress designed by Byron Lars for Anthropologie – – $728.00
  • 2.5 Yard Fabric for lining (top and skirt) – Joanns – $12.99 per yard on sale for $9.00 x 2.5= $22.50
  • white lace fabric; (3) 1/2 yard pieces for contrast on bodice front and back (1.5 yds total)  $6.99 X 1.5 = $10.48
  • Black Lace for skirt overlay 1.5 yards x 12.99 yard on sale for 9.00 = 13.5
  • 18” zipper for top – $2.99
  • Bits of lace for top embellishment purchased at a thrift store – $5.00
  • 7” zipper for skirt (invisible) $3.99
  • Total: 58.46
  • $728.00 – $58.46 = 669.54
  • $669.54 / $728.00 = .91969 =91.9 % savings

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There’s nothing like a Pattern Review Contest to get the creative juices flowing. Be sure to follow the link  to check out all of the entries – there are some amazing creations and some incredible Bargainista’s out there!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

Three Versions – Simplicity Waist-Tie Top

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Packing for a trip always points out the flaws in your wardrobe, don’t you think? A planned visit to the already muggy east coast made me realize – I have very few easy-to- wear, easy-to-pack tops that are humidity friendly.

Enter Simplicity 8601 – – An ‘easy-to-sew’ top with lots of variations.

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Version 1; Rayon

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This lovely batik rayon was purchased last Spring (Millendstore). I used some of it for this dress last spring. This rayon has a lovely, soft drape, so even though I was short a quarter of a yard, I worked hard to squeeze this 3/4 sleeve top from it. I was really lucky it worked because the drape of rayon is so perfect for this style!

One thing to note about this pattern – – It has a seam down the front, a necessity because of the tie at the waist. Stripes, plaids etc need to be positioned strategically. Even though this rayon has a polka dot print, it’s a batik with a noticeable pattern to it so I had to do some strategic matching around that front seam.

I loved this top right away! Encouraged by the immediate gratification this pattern offered, I pressed on and sewed a few more…..

Version two: Medium weight cotton

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This is View A with bell sleeves, the perfect shape for layering under sweaters.  I was a bit concerned that the stiffness of this Cotton and Steel print would be a bit much for the waist tie…but it worked! Not only is this medium weight cotton great  in humid weather, it supports the shape of these sleeves.

Version 3; Cotton Double GauzeIMG_1337

When the weather is a bit sticky, double gauze always makes me feel great, so I just had to use a cotton gauze remnant in my stash for version B. I am so glad I did! There’s a reason people use double gauze for baby blankets – it’s so soft.  Wearing this top is like wearing pajamas, which makes me wonder…..Why don’t I make everything out of double gauze?

I’m pleased with all three versions so Simplicity 8601 so it gets a big thumbs up from me. I have plans to make View D as well (flutter sleeves) and who knows what else I might whip up.  From start to finish each version of this top took only two hours to sew – – a perfect saturday or evening project. The instructions are great and the fabric options that work with this pattern are endless. I have some linen I will use for a flutter sleeve version. I will likely make a flannel version in the fall.

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I was pleased to see several similar RTW tops at Anthropologie last week with a waist tie, so give this look a try. What version do you like best? Have you ever made a top from double gauze?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

Putting Fushia Linen To Good Use

 

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I have a new favorite color; fuschia.  This fuschia linen jacket takes me back to my first handmade effort years ago, a Vogue Perry Ellis jacket pattern that I fussed over because it was so expensive! Everything about that project felt special to me, so I visited a specialty fabric store and splurged on three yards of beautiful fuschia linen. At that point in my life, I had an entry level job with a corresponding salary, so I was necessarily frugal and so nervous when I cut into that expensive fabric. Such a risk!! Even now, after years of sewing, that same quiver hits me when I cut into a favorite piece.

That was certainly the case with this lovely linen!

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When I shop for linen at the fabric stores in Portland, earthy, natural colors are easy to come by, but it’s hard to find vibrant, rich brights! So, I was so thrilled when I found this linen on-line (Fabric.com),  on sale at the end of last summer.

The pattern I chose for my casual jacket is one I’ve sewn before (here), McCalls 7333.  I loved and wore that jacket so much, I was really eager to try the pattern again.

 

There are many reasons to love this design; the drawstring waist, the off shoulder look, the tab sleeves, but I’m crazy about this magnificent hood!

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I’m not sure why I love hoods so much. Maybe it’s because I live in the Pacific Northwest where Rain Rules. Whatever the reason, I’m a fan of this one. I love the way the collar drapes nicely into the jacket lapel; so relaxed yet stylish.

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About the Pattern: The instructions were easy to follow. I found the sizing straightforward, but generous (XS-XXL). The style is very loose and the collar gives weight at the neck, making it quite wide, so if you cut a size too large, it could easily slip off your shoulders. Since I have narrow shoulders, I took 5/8 from the shoulders. I also cut a size smaller than my measurements, and it’s still a good fit.

One nice detail with this pattern is the two-piece sleeves with button cuffs. They add a polished element that gives this loose jacket some structure. They wereeasy and simple to insert as are the buttoned cuffs.

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It’s definitely linen season here (finally!) and I think this pattern was the perfect use for my cherished fabric. I’m wearing this jacket here with my Ginger jeans, which are in heavy rotation in my wardrobe! There’s another pair of those in my future too.

On my sewing table:  I’ve just cut out a Blackwood cardigan, and a new springy top for Faye’s Tops that Pop challenge (lots of inspiration on her blog)! Look for those posts soon. I’m also planning an update on my RTW fast experience and will be participating with Me-Made-May.

I love linen, and am always happy to find a new style that works with it. I have another green piece in my stash that I’ve been considering for a bright Spring trench. To do so, I’d have to underline the coat, I think, since linen is crisp but maybe not quite crisp enough. Have any of you ever underlined linen?

Happy Spring sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Party Pants Times Two

Secret pajama pants! What could be better? They’re perfect for a night out…a comfortable yet stylish option that makes you feel pretty good until your date says, uh…those pants are pretty baggy, aren’t they?

Well, yeah, but in a very evolved I don’t care if I show off my figure sort of way, am I right?

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Of the two pair of pants I made from McCall’s 7726, the linen ones are my favorites. This linen is especially nice with a soft hand (fabricdepot.com), perfect for this style. Soft wrinkles are inevitable with linen and they seem right at home here.

Pair number two is made from twill with an overlay of black lace.

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The fabric has been in my stash for along while, so I have no clue where it came from. Since twill is a recommended fabric for this pattern, I just had to give it a try. The twill added so much structure to the look, it’s as though I made a completely different pattern!

McCalls 7726 is a pretty forgiving option if you’re ready to sew a new pair of pants.

The paper bag waist is created by eight pleats, so if you need to adjust fit there, you can do so by tweaking of the size of the pleats. The pants have generous pockets and optional belt carriers. I cut a size 10 in the waist, then graded to a size six everywhere else. The fit is generous, so there’s quite a bit of wiggle room. The pants are long too…I cut off quite a bit to get my cropped look (I’m 5’4″).

I chose View C for both versions. The main difference between the views is the width of the leg. I love wide pants but they tend to look ridiculous on me, so I opted for the narrow leg. I also made the fabric sash for both pair.

This is an easy pattern and the instructions are spot on, even the ones for the fly zipper. The waist instructions vary a bit by the version. The facing is applied to the paper bag waist before or after making the pleats depending on the view that you choose.  I pleated the waist after creating the facing and it wasn’t hard at all.

 

Well, the fit of this style might be too loose for some people’s taste, but not not for me. I am a big fan of this style. These pants can be dressed up or down as the mood strikes. I wore the twill pair when I was out and about, and every woman I met wanted a pair, including a sales girl in Anthropologie, LOL!! We all love secret pajamas, don’t we?

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Next up for me are a few springy tops, a linen jacket, shorts and a skirt for Spring/summer, even though it’s cold and wet here.  I’m also considering another cardigan before Me-Made May, since the weather is frightful. I’m looking for a new cardigan pattern with a hem band…any suggestions?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

Remnant Buster– Vogue 9301 three ways

When it comes to fabric shopping I can be my own worst enemy. Last year, I was in a frugal mood. Unfortunately, this didn’t keep me from buying fabric – – it only kept me from purchasing enough. So, I found myself short by a half a yard on several projects. Now, in 2018, I seem to have over-corrected. Now, I have more than my fair share of one yard remnants, leftovers from large purchases of knits that were way too much for the dresses I made recently. What to do? Sew a few knit tops, of course.

Enter Vogue 9301, a semi-fitted knit top designed by Kayla Kennington.

V9301_aWho is Kayla, anyway? If you read Threads magazine, you’ve likely heard of her. She’s a designer who’s written articles for them and her creations are gorgeous – so artistic and amazing. She can take the leftovers from her various projects and turn them into something special. If you haven’t visited her website, do. It’s a treat! Vogue 9301 is such a perfect example of  her style, a semifitted top that you can mix and match fabrics and embellish as you wish.

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My first version was really simple, because I needed to see how the top would fit me. I’m small, so sometimes unstructured tunics can really be overwhelming on me. To test the pattern, I used a piece of fabric that’s been in my stash for so long, it has a faded streak in the back. I’m 5′ 4″ yet, this pattern is almost as long as a dress on me…a great length with leggings.

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Even without contrast fabric, this pattern has a great shape and style.  I loved the asymmetry of the hem line and the hem band – I couldn’t wait to play around with contrast fabric.  To make the top a bit shorter, I shortened both the front and back bodice at the waist line by 5/8″. This made the fit much better I think for my height.

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For this version, I used remnants from this dress, and had some fun playing around with stripe placement. The wide band at the hemline requires alot of fabric (I had very little) and it must be in one piece, so it was a struggle to get it from the leftover fabric I had. Luckily, I made it, but it would have been fun to have cut that band so that the stripes were at a diagonal to the bodice, but that’s what happens when you’re using remnants – options are limited!  I think this version is casual and fun – – the sort of top I throw on over jeans to hang out in.

Version Three: I just had to go all the way, and add in the flaps too!

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I used contrast fabric remnants for the sleeves and the optional flaps. The wide hem band is a second contrast fabric and the sleeve bands are cut perpendicular to the grain.

Vogue 9301 is a fun sew and pretty fast too, each version took me about two hours. It’s a great remnant stash buster, and a nice palate cleanser after my coat. I can imagine using this pattern again.

These tops will make Me-Made-May easier to pull off this year! Are you participating? I’m joining in and will post some of my days on Instagram. I do find the exercise of wearing me-mades every day to be revealing. It’s interesting to see which makes you reach for again and again, and which you ignore! I’ll be sharing my findings here.

Remnant busting is so satisfying – would love to hear what you do with yours. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

A Coat in Spring Green

 

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I finished sewing this wool coat a few weeks ago, and wanted to share it, but the weather hasn’t been great for taking photos outside. The fact is, the sky probably won’t be clear for another month or so, and by then, it will be too warm to wear wool (fingers crossed). So today, I gave up and took photos indoors!

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This coat is Butterick 6292, a pattern that caught my eye when I saw the versatile collar!

 

 

I love coats with a military vibe (i.e.Burberry), and the button placement on this design definitely gives it that look.

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The wool is, well…green, a color I don’t usually gravitate towards, but this wool from Mill End Store was too cozy to resist. It has a very soft hand though, so I decided to underline the front of the jacket to give it a bit of body to hold the shape of the front lapels. I think this was a good move, because even underlined, the wool still retains its character, yet holds its shape. I lined the coat with rayon and used very thin shoulder pads to give the shoulders some definition.

Challenges:

  • This wool is thick – so making buttonholes on a double layer of fabric was a absolute night mare. I thought I’d lose my mind. My machine couldn’t seem to manage moving across the thick nubby wool so I put a thin layer of interfacing over each buttonhole before stitchng it. It worked! Then, when the buttonhole was finished, I trimmed the interfacing away.
  • Lining – – Even though I cut it according to the pattern instructions, it was an inch too long. Not sure if others had this problem, but it added a step because I had to trim it.
  • Back pleat – I eliminated this as I thought my soft wool wouldn’t hold a pleat. The coat still has enough room to accomodate a wide stride without it.
  • Button placement was a bit tedious – -there are alot of them 🙂 But I love the look so the end result made the effort worth it!

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I love my new coat, and, well…(don’t hate me)…I hope the weather doesn’t improve too quickly so that I can wear it!!! The pattern is definitely a keeper, one that I should probably make again, but will I? Hmmm, there are so many coat patterns in my stash that I want to try, so I’m not sure this one will make it into the queue again. Although I can imagine a version from twill or tweed….

Have you put your stash of wool away until next winter, or are you a die-hard like me?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

A Textured Knit Cardigan For Spring

 

IMG_7399 3When I saw this textured knit last winter at Britex, it was love at first sight. I was so taken with the open weave, the natural color, the texture that was remiscent of eyelash knit, that I didn’t bother to check how much stretch it had, or to think about what I might sew with it. I just bought it!

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When it was time to sew, I was pretty surprised to discover my lovely knit had absolutely no stretch at all. Ha, that will teach me. My gut told me it was perfect for a cardigan, but most patterns require two-way stretch. I did find one in my stash though that was more like a jacket than a sweater, a style that would be compatible with a stable knit.

McCalls 6708 is an out-of-print pattern I’ve used before here. I love the Chanel Jacket look, and the structure the front and neck bands add. I think you could get a similar look using a collar-less jacket pattern, adding patch pockets and front bands.

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Challenges: This pattern required inserting buttonholes into a very loosely woven knit. I tried a few with remnants of the fabric and discovered my machine just wanted to eat it. So I fused little pieces of interfacing to the back of the band to put a protective layer between feeddogs and fabric. The buttonholes were a success, but this changed this project from easy to requires patience.

This knit, even though stable, has a tendency to stretch, a less than ideal characteristic when it comes to patch pockets. So, to help the pockets keep their shape, I interfaced the entire pocket. Because the fabric unravel easily, I serged the seams.

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I think it looks a little bit retro, don’t you? This sweater will be perfect for Spring. Even though this knit wasn’t ideal for this project, I do love how it turned out and I’m so glad it came home with me! Have you started your Spring sewing?

In other sewing news, I’ve started my night dress for the Day and Night Dress challenge. I can’t wait to show it to you. I’m also gathering fabric and patterns to participate in the Pattern Review Wardrobe Challenge. I’m not sure I’ll be able to get them all sewn before the deadline, but I’m going to have fun trying. It’s stripe month over on the Sewcialists too…so much inspiration right now in our community!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

An easy DIY Date Night Top and a Challenge

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Next week I’m celebrating my wedding anniversary, and will be going out for a date with my husband. As usual, the January weather isn’t really great for wearing a dress (gray, dark and rainy, blah!), so I decided to sew a date night top from a springy floral to perk myself up!

For a special night out, I always want to wear something with a bit of drama, so it was the perfect excuse to sew another fun peplum top.

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You all know, I’m a big fan of peplums (sewn here, here and here). Every time I think I’m over them, I discover a new version to try. This top is Vogue 9084, a very easy pattern that has some really dramatic peplums, if you’re in the mood! I was attracted to the curved seam where the peplum meets the bodice – I just had to have it!

 

I love this fabric (fabricdepot.com). It’s embroidered rayon and it hangs like a dream.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough fabric to do view C with the dramatic high low peplum. Not sure my husband would have loved that look anyway, since he wasn’t a fan of my coat with the interesting hem (here), LOL. Maybe next time. Although this pattern is marked ‘easy’ I did have a few challenges with fit. The neck doesn’t look big, but on me it was huge, even though I cut the smallest size and took a narrow back adjustment. I ended up taking a couple of short darts at the neckline in the back before finishing the neckline with seam binding. This did make it fit much better, but it was frustrating as I had already taken some ease out of the back with my narrow shoulder adjustment.

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Unfortunately, my print doesn’t really show the cool curved seam in the front, so next time, I’ll likely make it in a solid fabric. For fun, I modified the sleeves a bit and added a 6 inch wide bell cuff so that it would look more dressy for ‘date-night’. To do this, I cut off 6 inches of the sleeve length. Then, for the bell cuff, I cut a 8 inch wide piece of fabric. The length was 1 and a half times the circumference of the sleeve opening. Once the cuff was gathered, I just inserted it into the sleeve bottom.

At this time of year, going out in the evening means wearing a heavy coat and pants so I’m glad I’ll have this fun top to make me feel dressed up when I reach my destination.

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In other news, Elizabeth at Elizabeth Made This is hosting the Day/Night dress Challenge again this year. Last year, I loved participating in the challenge because it inspired me to make two dresses that I wear all the time and I met some really fun bloggers. So I was so pleased when she asked me to participate again this year. daynightchallenge18logohashtag

The theme is coffee and cocktails, a brillant way to capture the essence of the challenge, which is to sew a dress you’d wear if you were meeting a friend for coffee, and another to wear for cocktails! Any one can participate. The details are on Elizabeth’s blog, but it’s really simple. You can tag your entries on Instagram with #dayandnightdresshchallenge and tag Elizabeth at Elizabethmadethis too. There are prizes, heh, heh and great sponsers. I’ve started planning my dresses and can’t wait to see yours!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

First Make of 2018, Goals and a Few Reflections

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It feels good to be back to blogging after the holidays! I love the parties and fun but I’m very ready to move on, to get back to the routine and back to the sewing room. So, I’m happy to welcome 2018 with a new make, a few goals and some reflections too.

I took a moment to look back on my 2017 makes (here’s my top five)  and was not surprised to discover I sewed more tops than anything else. That’s easy to predict since I spend a lot of time wearing pants and jeans, not because it’s my ‘look’, but because I live in a damp, chilly climate that makes pants a necessity. A fun, new top is an easy way to change-up my wardrobe without much fuss. That being said, the large number of tops in my closet played a big part in my goals for 2018;

  • Sew more pants! Last year, I made only two pair plus a pair of Jalie stretch jeans (!!). In 2018, I’d like to find a couple of other patterns to call tried and true. This will be important if I’m going to be successful with goal number two which is….(drum roll)…
  • To participate in the 2018 RTW fast (Thanks, Goodbye Valentino for inspiring me!). Basically, I will not being buying any clothes this year, so I’ll need to stitch up a couple of pairs of pants if I’m going to survive a year without Anthropologie (can it be done? We’ll see….).
  • Challenge myself with at least two sewing contests, four if I can manage it.
    • In 2017, I participated in the Pattern Review Wardrobe Sudoku and the plaid contest. Both competitions were really fun and they  pushed me out of my comfort zone a little too. I had to stretch my sewing skills a bit to keep up, so I’d like to do more next year.
  • Stash Bust: Sure, I could try to give up fabric purchases for awhile, but a year without that pleasure would be a truly horrifying thing for me! So, I will compromise with this rule. I will sew two items from stashed fabric for every one fabric purchase.
  • Sew a trench coat. I’ve always wanted to make one, a Burberry knock off would be great! See how inspiring they are?
  • Sew a couple of cool bags with lots of details. Ideas of patterns to try anyone?
  • Sew with a plan 50% of the time: Last year I sewed with a plan for a trip to Spain and Portugal, which really paid off. I had a great travel wardrobe that was comfortable and made me feel put together, even when I wasn’t, LOL. I will do the same with a couple of trips this year. However, sewing with a plan all the time cannot be a goal for me. Too much planning can destroy my sew-jo. I kid you not. When I think about what I’m going to sew too much, every decision overwhelms me and I end up doing, well…. nothing!  So, I will allow myself time to sew ‘whatever suits my fancy’ too, because spontaneity and sewing in the moment is the fun of it for me.

In summary; I was pretty productive in 2017, and hope to do the same in 2018, balancing hard projects like coats with ‘easy sews’ like tops and skirts. My blogging goals are to improve my photos and my regularity, although I didn’t do too bad last year.

Now about this top….

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I found this sweater knit at Fabric Depot this fall. Immediately, I could see it as another version of McCalls 7501, a knit dress/top pattern that I made before and wore constantly because it’s cozy and comfortable, especially with a tee under it. This fabric caught my eye because it reminded me of sweater I saw at Anthropologie. McCalls 7501 is a favorite pattern now because I love view B, the wide collar option. The collar becomes such a cozy detail when sewn from a textured sweater knit.

This pattern is a fun, quick sew. It even has Raglan sleeves! Trust me, you can make this in an afternoon!

I hope your new year is off to a great start! I’d love to know what you think of my goals – – especially my RTW fast! Am I …..crazy? Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.